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Aoyama: Maybe I could win at Motegi..

"Initially many riders said they don't want to go to Japan. Obviously I thought maybe I can win the race!" - Hiroshi Aoyama.
Whilst pleased that his MotoGP rivals ultimately decided to attend this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, Hiroshi Aoyama joked that a rider boycott would have given him a home win.

All riders but Aoyama had raised concerns about the risk of radiation from the damaged Fukushima nuclear powerplant, around 110km from Motegi.

Independent reports listed the risk as negligible and the objectors - led by title contenders Casey Stoner and Jorge Lorenzo, then Valentino Rossi - gradually fell back into line.

The full 17-rider line-up (with the injured Loris Capirossi replaced) will thus be present this weekend, plus two wild-card riders from Honda.

"Initially many riders said they don't want to go to Japan. Obviously I thought maybe I can win the race!" smiled Aoyama on Thursday.

"But finally I'm happy that everyone is here. For sure as a rider they are very great rivals, so it makes things harder for me, but it is good for the fans."

The San Carlo Honda Gresini rider hopes the MotoGP event will help send a positive message to the people still suffering n the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that hit the region in March.

"There is not much we can do directly [to help], but we can give some positive energy and mentality to the people," he said.

Aoyama is tenth in the 2011 world championship, his second season in the premier-class, with a best race finish of fourth.




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